The Road towards a Truly Organized Home Office. If you’re running a home-based business, the home office is where you keep your files and communicate with your customers. Here are some top decluttering tips from organisation expert Lillian Connors
For someone who works from home, the home office might as well be the most important room in the house, second only to the bedroom.
If you’re running a home-based startup, the home office is where you keep your files, communicate with your customers and clients, and keep record of your accounts.
Even if you work someplace else, a home office lets you manage all of your family’s important medical, financial, and educational documents in an organized way.
Clean your desk
The best place to start organizing your home office is your desk.
If it’s currently buried under a clutter of papers, layers of Post-It notes, and random office supplies, take everything off, save for your computer screen, printer, and phone.
Now, before you can see the original colours of your desktop, you need to remove several years’ share of accumulated dust.
Finally, go through all the items you removed from the desk and see if you can find them a better place. One way to do it is to separate them in groups based on how often you use them and find their respective place in drawers, cabinets or storage boxes.
Throw some away
One of the main reasons why home offices get so cluttered is because their ‘managers’ either refuse to throw away piles of unnecessary documents, supplies, or stationery or simply don’t have time to do it.
For example, you should definitely bin pens that no longer work, paper clips that can’t take their original shape, old newspapers and periodicals, redundant and broken office equipment, such as outdated phones, printers, and scanners.
Documents such as tax returns you should keep, while pay stubs, investment statements, bank statements, and medical bills needn’t be kept longer than a year.
Explore different storage options
Before you swipe the clutter off your desk, you need to decide where to put all the items that don’t end in your rubbish or recycle bin.
You need a rational system of contemporary office storage solutions such as file racks for current projects, shelf bins for assignments, bills, letters, and other project-related documentation, and filing cabinets for deep storage.
When you set up your storage solutions, you need to establish a workflow.
When a new project some in, you might put it in the inbox, and as it progresses, move it to your file rack for open projects, and when it finishes, store it in a filing cabinet.
Deal with cable clutter
A haphazard network of cables that awaits you every time you step into your office isn’t only a tripping danger, but can also pose a fire hazard.
You can reduce the number of cables on the floor by reducing the number of equipment you don’t use, or relocate them on separate desks or stands along the walls, where cables can be neatly tucked in.
In addition, consider upgrading with as many wireless peripherals as you can. Arrange the remaining cables with cable ties, clamps, clips, and Velcro wraps, and plug them into a surge-protected power bar.
Keep important accessories within reach
Whenever you need to go through your desk or get up to walk to your cabinets where you keep the items you often use, you’re wasting precious time.
Even if your desk is clean now, unless you find a way to keep important tools close in an orderly fashion, it will soon get cluttered again.
A shelf behind or beside your desk can store your reference books, while a tray or smaller containers can hold your writing tools, sticky, notes, tapes, and other stationery.
While you can also put these items into a drawer with an organizer, make sure you throw out supplies that are empty or damaged.
Whether you use your home office as a hub for your business, or just to tend to your household’s financial, medical, and educational records, these organization tips can help you save it from becoming just another storage room with a computer.